Minimalist Person – a person acquiring things that are only essential and needed to living a simple comfortable life (keeping things to the minimum or essential).
Maximalist Person – a person acquiring things even those which are not essential and needed in living a simple comfortable life.
Minimalist Physician – a physician instituting medical management only those which are essential and needed by a patient in health restoration and maintenance.
Maximalist Physician – a physician instituting medical management including even those which are not essential and needed by a patient in health restoration and maintenance.
Determine whether you’re a maximalist or minimalist. Some patients (and doctors) believe that the most treatment is the best treatment. Dr. Groopman tends to be one of them. For example, many years ago, he underwent a spinal fusion because he was convinced that medical science could identify the cause of his back pain and fix it. (It was a mistake—he has suffered from severe back pain ever since and is now somewhat less of a maximalist.)
Dr. Hartzband is a medical minimalist. She never rushes to have tests or procedures. She errs on the side of avoiding medical care until she is convinced that she needs it.
Both approaches are valid as long as you are willing to adjust your thinking as you go along. A maximalist needs to remind himself/herself that it’s sometimes better to slow down, to think twice before agreeing to a particular treatment. A minimalist needs to keep in mind that it is sometimes better to see a doctor today rather than next week or to have a test that he/she would rather avoid.
NOTE: I am a minimalist person and physician.